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Full text of "The recall of love [microform]"

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MiaOCOPY mSOlUTION TBI CHART 

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Sr*^ '653 Ea>t Moin Street 

^^ Roch«ter, N«w York U609 USA 

'— (716) 482 - 0300 - Phone 

^S (716) 288 - 5989 - Fa» 




RALPH CONNOR 



/ 



^ 



c^xax. c\. S 






-y 






JMcM/ 



'>TV UCRARY 



THE RECALL OF LOVE 



i 



TRG • RGCALL 
OF • LOV6 

RALPH connoR. 




TORONTO 
THE WESTMINSTER COMPANY LIMITED 






230567 



' 



Tne-RGCALL 
OF • LOVe 

RALPH connoR. 



'Y^-ELL PETER." These words. 
\^ «ftraight from the heart of Him 
Who, fresh from his e^eri' 
ence of mortal infirmity, knew how to 
feel for a man dishonoured and broken 
IJ sudden weakness, sounded forth 
LOVE*" *° ^''' ™^ RECALL OP 

The story of Peter is not the most 
be-utjful Of the tales that gather about 
the Man of Galilee, but it is the most 
precious of them all, for it is a story 



C|)e laecall of iUtie ?m» 



of a man who fell, but, falling, rose 
again. There are a thousand ways of 
falling; only one of rising again. 



11 



Those three nights and two days 
glared in Peter's mind through all his 
after-years as one long hideous dream. 
Its features stood out, clear-cut, indel- 
ible; that calm Figure, calm and majes- 
tic in spite of the unaccu^omed, 
outrageous bonds; the malignant faces 
ringing Him round; the rabble crew 
crowding about the fire; and then that 
girl's face, impudent, gay, triumphant., 
flashing out in the firelight the sudden 
challenge that ^uck him with swift 
terror so that, ere he knew, he had 
iftammered out his fir^ fatal denial. But 
clearer th&n all, vivid and penetrating, 



., 



C|)e meeall of fLo)at 



remained that look of pain and love 
that pierced him to the heart and drove 
him forth into the night. 

Bewildered and dazed with the sharp 
agony of that Ebbing glance of love, 
he stumbled down a lonely lane, and 
in a back alley, wriUiing in pain as each 
successive wave of memory flooded his 
soul, he passed the long night until the 
dread dawn drove him into some darker 
hiding. 



„ 



But neither shame nor fear could 
hold him in his hiding while his Lord 
was being done to death; so through 
the day he followed the crowd, safe 
hidden in its swirling eddies; watched, 
impotent with rage and terror while 



Ct)e iaecall of iUtie 



tfiey frothed their hate againA the Man 
who had through the past month 
proved His love by deeds of kindness 
upon their bodies and by words of heal- 
ing upon their souls; watched and 
waited with faint lingering hope for 
that display of power that would set 
Him free; watched in vain. 



m 



Did he follow to Calvary ? His letters, 
with their clarion call to noble suffer- 
ing and their appeal to the agonies of 
the Chri^ reveal the eye-witness of 
those laA dread pangs of the Cross. 
Not with the jeering crowd, not with 
that gallant little company close to the 
Cross, braving the fury that raged about 
them, but from behind the rocks of Cal- 
vary, peeping fearfully, he watched the 



(; 



<m£ %\^t iaeeall of JLtltt 



horrible scene. In his own hands he 
felt the drive of the nails, upon his own 
brow the tearing thorns, and in his own 
side the spear-thrust— felt, but dared not 
utter his cry. Now lying prone, now 
gaiing again in horror, now rocking in 
agony, he suffered with his Lord till 
that la^ great cry relieved him too. 



i'. 



Through that my^erious darkness he 
lay waiting for the end of all things, 
but the end was not yet. With quick, 
disciplined tread, the soldiers march 
from the ground; subdued and terrified, 
the rabble and their leaders slink back 
to the city, but rftill Peter waits. From 
his place behind the rocks he watches, 
coveting with how deep a longing a 
place in that poor, pathetic little pro- 



C|)e iBLttaii of lUtie 



ceMion that bean to the Granger's 
tomb the limp and pallid body of hii 
Lord, watches till all is made safe, 
watches till all have gone their ways, 
and he is left alone. 



Whither now? Ah, whither indeed? 
What place in all the world is left for 
the man who b-s dishonoured his 
name, broken his faith, denied his 
Lord? The city? It is overflowing with 
the jubilant slayers of his MaAer. The 
upper room? Not there. Ah I not there. 
There is no place for a traitor in that 
band. Peter's sin, like all men's sin, has 
cut him off from his deareA comrades. 
Is there no place for such as he? Yes, 
there is one. Outside the city wall 
where they cail their refuse, out to 



CDe laecaii of lUtie 



><> 



Vi 



Oehenua, the place of uncleanness and 
of everUrfting burning, out to that dread 
valley -thither a man, burdened with 
uncleanness and longing .'or the fires 
of purging, may go. On that rugged 
ridge, illumined by baleful fires that 
never slesp, Peter spends his night. As 
its weary hours drag their slow length 
along, a que^on haunts him with ter- 
rible persiAence, "Why should I, cut 
off from God and from my comrades, 
any longer Uve? What is left for 
me? Why should I live to meet the 
morrow?" So, spent, distraught and 
tempted to his doom, he watches the 
night draw toward morning. Suddenly 
through the grey light he sees a figure 
flying with hurrymg ^eps as if pursued 
by ten thousand demons, and making . 



%l^t laeeaii of iLotie ?m» 



towar his hiding. Horror-Aricken, he 
watches the hunted man fasten a rope 
round the bough cf an overhanging 
tree, with trembling hands adjust it 
ftbout his neck, then hurl himself head- 
long, tree and all, down upon the rocks 
below. Oazing in fascinated terror, 
Peter beholds in the glare of the burn- 
ing fires the diAorted face and the 
mangled body of his fellow-disciple. 



"Alas! poor Judas I You waited for 
no look of piercing love when you went 
forth into the night." A new terror 
shakes Peter's soul, hunts him from 
that valley of cursing and drives him 
up the Aair to the upper room where, 
abjecft and trembling, he Elands, waiting 
the opening of the door. 






? 



Ci^e fSittm of JLotJc 






♦ 






Who opened to him? Was it the 
beloved disciple? He was ever quick 
at opening doors. And did he say, 
"No, Peter, there is no place here for 
cowards?" Ah I no, not that, but with 
hands out^etched, "Come in, Peter, 
come in, we need you sorely here."' 
And did Peter take his place with never 
a word? We know he did not. Peter 
had done with cowardice and lying. 
With relentless self-abasement, he iftood 
and told them all, with sobs and tears 
and heart-wrung groanings, his sin and 
shame, ending with this bitter cry, "And 
on me cursing He ca^ a look as if He 
loved me ^11. Oh, could I but tell 
Him my sorrow and my love. But this 
may never be." With humble compas- 
sion they took him to their hearts, too 



C|)e iaecall of lUtie 



conscious of the coward in themselves 
to be hard with the man who, through 
cowardice, had denied and suffered. 
And then through the morning light 
sounded clear and sweet the sacred 
trumpets from the Temple courts near 
by, announcing that the Sabbath Day 
had come. 



The Sabbath Day I What mockery 
was this? The Great Pea^-Day was 
upon them. What fiend's humour was 
this? What Sabbath of re^ and holy 
joy for them while their Lord, the Son 
of God, lay dead in Joseph's tomb. 
Surely no more exquisite turn of misery 
was left them now. Dazed and dumb 
and huddled together, they likened 
through the long hours to the successive 



I 



l\ 



^^ti CDe mecaU of %Miit 



t 



chantings of the priests, to the clear- 
sounding trumpets and the clashing 
cymbals that lead the people in their 
jubilant songs upon this high and holy 
day ( national memorial and of na- 
tional triumph. Alas for them I With 
their Lord all their high hope for Israel 
lay dead. 



i 
f 



i 



Night falls. The last glad trumpet 
note has ceased, the sounds of the 
^eet die down. The city lies in 
slumber, while they, ^hipid with misery^ 
and despair, wait for the morning. 
The men doze off into horrid dreams, 
only to wake startled .j the old pain, 
and to doze again. But the women 
do not sleep. Their finer spirits rise 
victorious over the sluggish flesh, and, 



'li^t iaeeau of JLoMt ?)^ 



besides, they have a business on hand. 
Long ere the dawn grows grey they 
are alert and moving, signalling each 
other in the dim light. Softly they 
open the door, ^eal down the ^ir. 
Only Peter of the men sees and under- 
iftands. In othqr days he would have 
been at their side, but to-day this is 
not for him. It is the women's work, 
for their hands are gentle, their touch 
tender, their hearts true. It is for them 
to bathe and aroint and garb that 
precious body for its final re^. It is 
not for him, unclean and coward as 
he is. So he waits behind, and over the 
sad hours of the pa^ days and nights 
his heart makes weary pilgrimage, 
dwelling with fresh grief on each in- 
cident of shame. 




.jr?e fltood aniUd ihcmall ha sin and ehame. 



I 






€I)e iaeeall of Hotie 



But hark I There is a sound of run- 
ning feet I Along the street and up the 
^airs they come. The door bursts 
open, and the women with white 
faces and staring eyes fling forth their 
news, their glad, terrifying, glorious, 
unbelievable news. The tomb is empty I 
There is a vision of angels I He is 
alive I 

"God of Abraham I God of the living, 
ran it be?" 



Peter is down the Aairs and up the 
^eet, running hard, after him John. 
Nearing the sepulchre, John shoots to 
the front. What slowed Peter's feet? 
Not age, but a sudden shock of mem- 
ory. The man whom he is running to 



C|)e i&ecau of Hotie 



see is the Man he has denied. Well 
indeed may John run swiftly to the 
meeting ; he has m ver failed his 
Lord. 

But they may save their breath. 
There is nothing to see. The tomb is 
empty, rifled of its dead. Rl .ed? What 
then of these folded robes? These pro- 
claim no ha^e. Greatly wondering, 
but imbelieving, they return to their 
company. It is after all only a silly 
woman's tale. The gho^y light of the 
dawn working with imaginations dis- 
tempered and ditftraught with grief ex- 
plains it all. 



Upon them as they dland in eajg;er 
excited talk, the door opens again, and 



y%> CDe iaccall of iUt>c 

a woman Aanda among them. It is the 
Magdalene, calm and controlled, but 
with eyes and face aglow with the ex- 
ultant glory of the Resurrection vision. 
"He is alive!" and her voice thrills 
through their hearts. "He is alivel I 
have seen Him with these eyes I 1 have 
held Him by the feetl He knew mel He 
called me by my name!" She pauses 
m rapture. "By my name I- and He 
gave me a message to you all." 

They crowd hungrily upon her. "And 
He gave me a message to-»ahl she 
sees him shrinking in the comer -"to 
you Peter." 

•|To me?" says P-ter, faintly. 

"Yes, to you, Peter." 

"No, no, not to me. Not to me." 



Ct)e ttetall of %J>tt 



i 



••Ye«, He said dWtindUy, 'Tell Peter,'" 
and she gives her message. 

But Peter is gone. Down the iUirs 
again and through the streets. Why 
does he rftumble so? The morning 
light is good now. Ah, the tears, rap- 
turous, raining tears make the walking 
bad, and he is in harfte to find his 
Lord. With one swift leap, his heart 
has passed from despair to faith, know- 
ing that such a message can come only 
from his own loved Marfler. 

Whither is he going now? Out of 
the ci'.y gate, but not to Calvary, not 
to the tomb. That is no place for a 
living man. Out to the old trydting spot 
on Olivet goes Peter, his eyes weeping, 



I ;' 



C|)e iaeeaU of lUtie 



but his heart tingling with joy, up to the 
garden where they were wont to meet. 
At the gate he reverently pauses, then 
softly passes into the olive shade. 

"Ah I" he says, with swift remem- 
brance of the hour, "this is the spot 
where I slept. Shall I ever sleep 
again?" He draws slowly to where 
under the trees the grass is sodden and 
beaten down. "Here, here it was He 
lay." Down upon the trampled turf he 
ca^ himself, his face pressed hard 
upon the sod, his fingers clutching the 
grass while anew he sobs forth his 
penitence. "Oh, to see Him once again, 
to tell Him of my love." His sobs 
grow quiet, and he becomes aware in 
the Aillness of a Presence over him, 



Il'i 



C|)e iaeeall of lUtie r^^ 



while he waits awe-iftricken, scarce 
breathing, that he may hear if He 
speak. There they had their meeting, 
the sinner and the Saviour. 



"Somebody came and lifted me. 
Out of my sin and misery, 
Somebody came^ oh, who could it be, 
Who could it be but Jesus?" 

Was it a moment, or was it an hour? 
Peter never knew; but when he came 
to himself he was treading the air on 
his way back to the city. They who 
met him wondered at his face. "I have 
seen Him," he cried to them all. "I 
have seen him again; and HE IS JUST 
THE SAME! HE IS JUST THE 
SAME I" Through the company like 



^Wi C|)e iRitali of JLotje 



fire in a fore^ ran the word, "Simon 
has seen the Lord." All the while 
among them, Peter moved with a look 
on his face, tender and subdued as of 
a little child, and to all who met him 
his one word was, "I have seen Him; 
HE IS JUST THE SAME." 

Tell the world that Jesus is the 
same. The shock of the Cross has left 
His great life unbroken. The chill 
of the tomb has not touched His 
heart. 



Tell the sick of the world He is the 
same, his sympathy as quick. His help 
as ready as of old. 

Tell the outca^ He is the same, His 



C|)e mecall of lUMt T^^ 



fine chivalry making Him their cham- 
pion as before. 

Tell those who mourn their dead He 
is juA the same, His word as mighty, 
to revive. 

Tell the whole world, burdened with 
its sin and its .sorrow, that Jesus, 
though vidtor of the tomb, through the 
glorious risen Lord, is the same; as 
much a man as ever, as ^ong and 
tender as when He walked with the 
joyous crowds by the sunny waters of 
GaUlee: JESUS IS THE SAME. 

The ^ay was done; the world's great 
day. How sweet was the night, how 
grateful, after their long nights of 



III «!• 

rll: r 
iPI i 



C|)e iaeeall of Hotie 



agony, its re A I He had been with them 
all, and, leaving them His peace, had 
passed out of their sight. They were 
alone again, yet not alone, for they 
knew He was alive, and, therefore, near. 
The my^ic spell of that Presence was 
^11 upon them, and the wonder of His 
vidtory over death ^11 filled their 

BOUlS. 

"He is the same/ - vsed Peter to his 
friend, "and yet, H^ is not the same." 

"Where lies the change?" 

"That I cannot tell. His look, His 
tone, His bearing when He spoke to 
me the word of pardon — ah I I know, 
it is that He is a King." 



%\)t laecall of g-ot}e 



I' 



•'Said He nought to you of your — ?" 

"Of my sin? Nay, one word only, 
as I poured it forth, 'Speak no longer 
of your sin; it lies buried in my tomb.' 
Then it was He spoke mo^ like a 
King, as if He had won the right to 
be^ow His pardon where He would." 

Thenceforth that became another of 
Peter's great a-inouncements : IN 
JESUS' GRAVE LIES MAN'S SIN. 

Oh, wondrous grave to hold a world's 
sin! Oh, glorious pronouncement to 
men oppressed with sin! It is your 
right to bury it in Jesus' grave. 

One other teaching came to Peter, 



ii!,i^ 



in 

!tli 



I'. ; 1 1 



<^td %\)t laecaU of ILtMt 



but not on that day. With the passing 
years it grew upo.i him, and ever grew 
more precious, till in old age he fed 
his heart upon it. 

At la^ came a day when they led him 
forth to meet his doom. And when 
they would have laid him on his Cross, 
one word alone, and with a calm smile, 
he spoke, "Suffer my head to lie where 
lay His feet." And so they crucified 
him, unafraid, for in his ears sounded 
the music of that fir^ glad message, 
•'Tell Peter." And he knew that 
THROUGH JESUS* GRAVE LAY 
THE PATH TO LIFE. 



Oh, glorious word of "lively hope" 
for men appointed to death: 



CDe iaecall of ILotie ?^ 



Through Jeaus' grave lies the path 
to life. 

Ob, vanquished grave of Jesus whose 
chill could work no change upon His 
heart I 



III 



Oh, deep, deep grave of Jesus whose 
depths can hide a whole world's sint 

Oh, glorious grave of Jesus through 
whose gloom lies the immortal path- 
way to Immortal Life! 

"Tell Peter," He said; and to Peter 
and the rerft, "Tell all the world." 
IT IS THE RECALL OF LOVE. 

friHUtl t>> MmtiU. Wal—H * Vino. U; LotuUm hhW Afllltury, Cn^md. 



;iMj!i